High Performance Driver's Education (HPDE)
NASA-Southeast holds High Performance Driving Events (HPDE) at permanent road racing tracks on the East Coast. The schedule will include events at Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP), Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP), Charlotte (formerly Lowes) Motor Speedway (CMS). Road Atlanta, and Roebling Road Raceway.
NASA's driving schools are open to both street and race vehicles, if piloted by street or race licensed drivers in the United States. Although these events definitely involve going fast in cars, and they may take place during race weekends, THEY ARE NOT WHEEL-TO-WHEEL RACING EVENTS.
The Groups: We have four groups, which means we run four groups of cars on the track in three to four sessions each per day. Sessions last anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes, depending upon the event. Run Groups are based almost entirely on driver experience and skill, and each one contains about 15 cars per mile of track.
HyperDrives: "Novice" drivers are those who have driven at zero or very few track days and have never been "signed off" by an instructor for solo track driving. Signing up for HyperDrive requires an instructor. Passing other cars in HyperDrive is only allowed on straights and only after the driver of the lead car signals that it's safe to pass. A HyperDrive is the equivalent of one(1) Group 1 session.
Group 1: "Novice" drivers are those who have driven at zero or very few track days and have never been "signed off" by an instructor for solo track driving. Signing up for Group 1 requires an instructor. Passing other cars in Group 1 is only allowed on straights and only after the driver of the lead car signals that it's safe to pass.
Group 2: "Intermediate" drivers are those who have driven at some track days on at least one track and have been "signed off" by an instructor on at least one track. Signing up for Group 2 is for solo drivers but you can always request an instructor. Passing other cars in Group 2 is only allowed on straights after the driver of the lead car signals.
Group 3: "Advanced" drivers are those who have participated at 10 track days on more than one track and have been "signed off" by an instructor for each track driven. Passing other cars in Group 3 is only allowed after the driver of the lead car signals (aka. "point-by") but may be done anywhere on the track.
Group 4: "Advanced" drivers are those who have participated at 20 track days om more than one track and have been "signed off" by an instructor for each track driven. "Instructors" are those who have participated and completed Instructor Certification clinics we hold at various events each year. Passing other cars in Group 4 is allowed anywhere on the track. Point-by passing signals from the lead car are highly recommended but not required.
Instructors: NASA instructors must attend specified clinics and must follow the NASA curriculum. This standardization is the key to keeping NASA events the safest. Instructors come from such organizations as the Sports Car Club of America, BMW Car Club of America, Porsche Club of America, and more. Many are employed part-time by professional driving schools like BSR, Turn 1 Motorsports and Car Guys. Most trade their services for track time in Group 4 or the special Instructor group.
Instructors are required for drivers in Groups 1 and 2 because they are very effective at relaying all levels of information while showing drivers both the fastest and safest way to get around the track.
The only way for Group 1 and 2 drivers to get solo track time is to get "signed off" by an instructor. Standard levels of skill and knowledge have been set forth by NASA. Until the instructor feels your skills are up to our standards, you will not be allowed on the track alone. Signing off may take as little as a few laps to as much as all day.
Time Trial and Shootout (if time trial is scheduled): In the afternoon, once each group has had its sessions on the track, we usually set up a Time Trial according to NASA regulations.
Rules: Rules of conduct, both on-track and off, will be enforced according to the NASA Club Codes and Regulations (CCR) rulebook Click HERE to download for free!. Participants are expected to be familiar with the CCR before any open track event. Policies include those regarding contact between cars (it's not allowed), sportsmanlike conduct (it's required), and much more. Order your copy, for $20 delivered, from firstname.lastname@example.org by sending your information and requesting a copy of the rules.
Other rules and regulations to be enforced can be found in the 2006 NASA-SE Time Trial And Shootout Regulations.
What to Wear: Obviously, dress comfortably and for the weather conditions, but remember that long sleeves and pants are a requirement while on the track. Beyond that, wear natural fibers like cotton, which will not bond to the skin in case of fire. No shorts or open-toed shoes are allowed for drivers or passengers.
What to Bring:
A helmet, if you have one, M90/SA90 or newer rating (loaners may be available)
Hats, sunglasses, and suntan lotion
Rain gear (if you bring it, then it won't rain)
A tarp or other ground covering (to set up camp on, and to store the things you remove from your car before driving on the track)
A camera and/or videocamera - if you want pictures
A Friend/Crew Member
Safety: Our main goal is to provide fun that is both safer and faster than street driving. We employ policies developed over 10 years by professional instructors, emergency response teams and drivers.
Car Tech: Cars will be subjected to an extensive Technical Inspection before they are allowed on the track. In advance, make sure you meet the following minimum requirements. Cars that cannot pass Tech at the track on the morning of the event will not receive entry fee refunds!
All loose items, both inside and outside the car, must be removed. This includes glove compartment contents, storage bin contents, floor mats, tool kits, jacks, hubcaps, trim rings, fender skirts, etc. Spare tires may remain in the vehicle if they are securely bolted down. T-tops, targa tops, sunroofs, and moonroofs may remain on vehicles only if they are held down securely.
Seat belts must be functional and properly secured. Seat backs and frames shall be secured. This applies to all seats which shall contain drivers, instructors, or passengers.
Wheels must be firmly attached, with all studs and lug nuts present and tight.
Wheel bearings must be tight.
Tires must be in good condition, with no cord patches or belts showing and no cracks in the tread or sidewall. In addition, tires must be sufficiently inflated.
The throttle shall have a fully functioning return spring.
The brake pedal must have adequate pressure. The brake fluid reservoir must be full.
The battery shall be securely mounted and/or held down.
No excessive fuel, oil, water, or brake fluid leaks shall be allowed.
Brake lights must be fully functioning.
Exhaust systems must exit behind the driver.
In addition, we recommend the following:
A full tank of gas
A fresh oil change
Fresh, full coolant
Fresh high-temp brake fluid (like AP550 or ATE Super Blue or Ford HD)
Brake pads/shoes with at least 1/2 of original thickness remaining
Roll Bars: They are required in all convertible vehicles and recommended (but not required) in all vehicles. The definition of a roll bar is "substantial rearward metal bracing utilizing four or more points of attachment through the decking to the uni-body structure of the vehicle". Factory hardtops and bolt-on "style bars" do not qualify.
All of our event are open to the public, come on out and see it all for yourself! Eventually we hope to see you out on track!
For questions or comments about NASA driving schools and track days, e-mail the NASA-Registrar or call (704) 436-8211.
Ford Driving School at Miller Motorsports Park
The following convertible vehicles have built in rollover protection as delivered from the factory*.
A4, A5, TT
Z3 (Optional), Z4, E36 (Optional), E46, E90, 6 Series. 1 Series
SL (1990+), CLK, SLK, E Class, C Class
996, 997, 991, Boxster, 914
New Beetle, Eos
*If you do not see your vehicle listed you will need to add aftermarket rollover protection or get a letter from the manufacturer and send it to us and we'll add it!